CONSERVATION + COMMUNITY
Volunteer on a Big Five game reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and work alongside local communities, making a positive impact on the lives of others!
This programme offers an informative and unforgettable conservation and community experience perfectly suited to a gap year, or as an opportunity for a career break.
The project includes both conservation and community support, offering an insight into the environmental issues and management of a private game reserve, whilst also providing a positive contribution to the vulnerable children of the local community.
Looking for an exciting, conservation and community focused adventure? Join us in the Eastern Cape of South Africa for an unforgettable and life changing experience.
The Wild Inside Adventures Conservation and Community Project is open to anyone who would like an exciting and educational experience volunteering in one of the world's most beautiful countries. No previous experience is needed.
Whether you are wanting more experience before applying to a conservation or wildlife related course, are taking a gap year, have an interest in conservation and community work, have always dreamed of working on a game reserve, need a career break, enjoy helping others, or you simply just want an amazing experience, this project may be for you.
Join a diverse project for a hands on, educational and fun experience!
The programme conservation activities and community work are explained in more detail below.
The longer you stay as a volunteer on the project, the more in depth your involvement will be with ecology, conservation, reserve maintenance and social responsibilities.
Go home with magical memories of Africa, and the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference.
Volunteers are actively involved in the continuous monitoring of the lions, elephants and cheetah, as well playing a role in the rehabilitation of the the land to its natural state through alien plant control and erosion control.
Volunteers also assist with the maintenance of fences and roads.
We guarantee that you will go home as a walking encyclopedia, and with a happy heart!
Reserve work continuously changes depending on many external influences; with volunteers assisting with many short term projects on the reserve. These could include assisting the vet in ecological work like the relocating of animals for genetic reasons and control of population numbers, to assisting with post-mortem autopsies to establish and monitor potential diseases.
Community work is largely focused on children, including projects with local schools, orphanages and community centres. Work with adults in the community is also included.
The ratio of conservation work to community work on this project is approximately 60% conservation to 40% community.
Predator Tracking and Monitoring Using Telemetry
Telemetry on the lions and cheetah is used in tracking their territorial ranges. This information is used to make management decisions regarding the predators.
Giraffe, elephant, rhino and buffalo are the main large herbivores that volunteers will be monitoring as well as small herbivores such as blesbok, impala, springbok, red hartebeest, wildebeest and duiker.
Monitoring of Predator Breeding + Health
Documenting the Number of Herbivores Lambing
Monitoring Buffalo Feeding Behaviours
Soil Erosion Control
Fence Patrol and Maintenance
This includes checking fence lines for snares, filling in porcupine + aardvark holes and removing broken fencing material.
Alien Plant Control
All species of alien plants should be removed as often out-compete indigenous flora, thereby forming impenetrable thickets. This reduces available food for grazers and browsers.
Road Maintenance + Clearing
Removal and Documentation of Old Farm Material on the Reserve
Monitoring and Documenting Water Points on the Reserve
Watering holes are the heart and soul of a reserve, providing life for all wildlife. Their maintenance is essential for a stable ecosystem.
It is important to monitor the number of a species of plant within an ecosystem in order to keep it balanced.
The aim with conservation work is the development of a sustainable environment on the reserve by understanding the relationships between the vegetation, herbivores and carnivores within the ecosystem, as well as maintenance of both the reserve itself, and the correct vegetation.
Seasonal Based Activities:
These activities are not a regular occurrence from week to week an only take place when needed, or less often than other activities.
Game Counts and Wildlife Monitoring
Guided Walks and Trails through the Reserve
Nocturnal Predator Monitoring
Darting and Relocation of Wildlife (game capture)
There may be occasions where you are required to assist with work involving both the vet and the ecologist. Please note that darting and relocation only occur if it is necessary to do so or called upon by the vet.
If you have a particular interest in this type of work take a look at our Veterinary Programme, as this project may also be of interest to you.
Observing Veterinary Field Work on Wildlife Species
Boma Maintenance (temporary animal enclosure)
All community projects aim to promote education, welfare of children, social responsibility within the community, awareness of HIV + related illnesses, developing a sense of community, and providing income opportunities to the community.
The work volunteer do on the project is extremely valuable and really does make a difference!
Projects currently running include:
Vulnerable Children and Isipho Multi Purpose Center
Volunteers help to educate and teach disadvantaged and orphaned children at the Isopho Centre, and take part in sporting activities. These children may receive little or no attention without visits from volunteers, so play time and affection are also very important.
The craft centre was set up for locals from nearby townships to be able to sell their creations as a source of income. Volunteers help with the maintenance of the building, as well as teaching crafts and skills to the community.
Vegetable Gardening for Children
Volunteers get involved with helping the children with their vegetable garden, and teaching them gardening skills. The vegetable garden is a valuable source of nutrition for these children, and helps them learn the valuable skill of how to grow their own food.
Assisting with Educating School Groups
Developing an understanding and love of nature in the hearts of children who visit the game reserve in school groups, and increasing awareness and concern for conservation so future generations can enjoy our natural habitats.
We understand that community work is not everyone's passion.
If your focus is more on wildlife, and you would like to do more conservation work and less community activities check out our Conservation Project.
Every week includes a fun day out, which may include:
Trips to the Addo Elephant National Park
Visits to SAMREK, the penguin rehabilitation center in Port Elizabeth
A 7km forest walk through the Alexandria forest
A beach walk to the Dias Cross
Canoeing and boat cruising on the Bushman's River which runs through the game reserve
Navigation + Compass Orientation
Accommodation is based in the reserve itself. Volunteers stay in a very comfortable, one storey, ten bedroom house, which overlooks a large garden. Most of the rooms have twin beds. Five bathrooms are available in the house. The house is within walking distance of the local bar and basic shops.
A communal dining and sitting room with digital satellite TV is central to the house, along with a well equipped kitchen.
Wi-Fi is available at no extra cost. Participants do not have to give up any of their home comforts during their stay!
Laundry is available and rooms are cleaned each day.
The house also has an outside seating area with a braai (barbeque), and fire pit for chilly nights and social gatherings, as well as a swimming pool, which is also sometimes visited by thirsty wildlife!
Participants can expect to share a room depending on how many other volunteers are booked in.
All food is provided as part of the programme fees, this includes three meals a day.
All meat, fruit and vegetables are provided at the house. Volunteers are responsible for cooking evening meals in the communal surroundings.
Participants have free access to the kitchen in order to make their own breakfast and lunch, with lunch normally being a packed lunch as volunteers take part in their activities for the day. Always take enough food and drinks out with you in the vehicle to last the day.
Sweet treats and snack food can be purchased at volunteer's own expense from the local shop.
Vegetarians, vegan and other dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notification when booking your stay.
During their stay volunteers are treated to a 5-star guest experience at the Safari Lodge.
The Safari Lodge is tucked away in a valley of indigenous bush; it's location is ideal for the best wildlife viewing. The intimate thatched lodge with it's unique safari huts is an undisturbed retreat where you can regenerate your soul and tune into the sounds of nature.
In the evening the haunting sound of the kudu horn will summon you to the fireside to enjoy local cuisine under a magnificent canopy of stars.
The working week will usually comprise of a 5 day week, working 8 hours a day (Monday-Friday).
Evenings and weekends are leisure time for volunteers to either relax in the pub, swim in the pool, or sit in front of an open fire.
Alternatively, a wide variety of activities can be booked from the volunteer house. Staff are always happy to help you book these activities.
Please see a list of possible activities below.
Weekend Activities Include:
Bush Camping and Star Gazing
Bush Survival Skills with Navigation and Compass Orientation Included
Addo Elephant Park
Born Free Foundation
Rent a Vehicle and Explore the Surrounding Area
Relax at the Local Pub
Various Entertainment - rugby ball, soccer ball, cards and boardgames are available at the volunteer house.